After trailing 20-10 in the fourth quarter of the Super Bowl, the Kansas City Chiefs took a stunning late lead over the San Francisco 49ers thanks to a touchdown catch and run by running back Damien Williams.
It was a pivotal play as the Chiefs rallied for a 31-20 win, delivering head coach Andy Reid and quarterback Patrick Mahomes their first Super Bowl victory.
But should it have counted?
With Kansas City trailing 20-17 with 2:44 left in the fourth quarter, Williams took a swing pass from Mahomes on third-and-goal from the five-yard line and ran to corner of the end zone, reaching the ball over the right pylon as he was pushed out of bounds.
Officials ruled it a go-ahead touchdown.
They took a long look at the play via replay review to determine if Williams actually scored. Replays showed a close play as Williams stepped out of bounds around the same time the ball crossed the plane.
But none of the angles showed anything conclusive. Officials ruled that the call on the field stood, granting the Chiefs a touchdown as they took a 24-20 lead.
Had officials not ruled it a touchdown on the field, it seems likely that call would have stood as well. Replay wasn’t clear, and the biggest call in the Super Bowl swung in the Chiefs’ favor.
Missed delay of game benefits Chiefs as well
The score didn’t put an end to the game, as the San Francisco 49ers got the ball back with 2:44 remaining trailing by four points. After seven plays, the 49ers found themselves facing fourth-and-10 at the Chiefs 49, needing a first down to stay alive with 1:25 left.
They didn’t get it. Chiefs pass rusher Frank Clark sacked Jimmy Garroppolo, putting an end to the 49ers’ last, best hope.
But where the Williams touchdown was a borderline call, officials clearly got that play wrong. The snap arrived after the play clock hit zero. Garroppolo desperately clapped to signal center Ben Garland to snap the ball, but Garland didn’t in time. Officials should have blown the play dead.
But they didn’t, and it ended with a turnover on downs.
Two plays later, Williams ran for a 38-yard touchdown sealing the victory for Kansas City.
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